This summer, the Office of International Affairs hosted four undergraduate students from the University of Southern California. These USC Trojans came to NTU through USC's highly-selective Global Fellows Program for a two-month internship in three of the OIA's administrative departments.
Lisa Gerstley, a junior studying Law, History, and Culture with a minor in Business Administration, fulfilled her internship working in the International Students Division, while Demetrius Reagans, an International Relations and East Asian Studies student, and Melina Sutton, an American Studies student (both seniors), worked in the International Programs Division. Brandon Cheung, a junior studying Political Science, interned with the OIA's Center for International Education.
USC's Global Fellows program seeks to increase and promote understanding of Asian culture among American undergraduates by providing first-hand, comprehensive exposure to overseas work environments. Through rigorous and immersive internships at some of Asia's most renowned commercial, political, and nonprofit organizations, Global Fellows earn invaluable professional experience while broadening their cultural horizons.
The OIA was delighted to welcome these bright and driven individuals to Taiwan. Supporting USC's Global Fellows program exemplifies NTU's vision of pursuing academic excellence through a commitment to further develop existing international partnerships and create greater global education opportunities. The OIA looks forward to hosting more USC Global Fellows in the near future.
Below, the USC interns each share in their own words their impressions of NTU, the OIA, and Taiwan.
Before my internship with the Office of International Affairs at NTU, I had never been to Asia before. Although I had studied Chinese for three semesters prior to arriving here, I was a bit nervous for the language change, culture shock, and overall unfamiliarity of moving to an entirely new place. Fortunately for me, I was welcomed into a friendly, vibrant community here at the OIA which made my transition to Taiwanese life nearly seamless. For example, my coworkers took me out to lunch every day my first week and showed me where I could find vegetarian food to suit my dietary restrictions. Since that first week, I’ve enjoyed many meals, laughs, and conversations at the OIA. I’ve even had the opportunity to practice my Chinese on a daily basis.
In addition to helping my coworkers and supervisors write English emails and announcements, translating Chinese documents, and assisting with OIA’s new website, I’ve also had the opportunity to work independently on research projects. My individual research project involved exploring global trends in student mobility; in other words, I learned about where students around the world choose to study abroad and why, and I shared this information with my colleagues in a presentation. I was also able to share my experiences as an American college student in Taipei during a presentation to NTU student volunteers. Finally, I worked with the other USC interns at NTU to deliver a comprehensive presentation about how international offices are structured at universities around the world.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and work with the OIA. Although I am saddened by how quickly these two months went by, I know I will be back to visit in the future!
Working at National Taiwan University has been a rewarding experience. At the University of Southern California I am double majoring in International Relation and Chinese. NTU is an educational institution, and although I do not plan on working in the education field, I feel that since I was placed in the Office of International Affairs, you can never really expect what you will be learning. We were each given individual and group projects to work on during our 2 month internship. My individual project was on MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses). This project was actually really meaningful to me because it taught me the power of using technology to help self – teach or even as a tool to help with supplementing classroom learning. Many schools around the world are using MOOCS to such as Coursera or Open Courseware to supplement the work they have students do in class or students have access to Youtube where they can learn anything they want by watching a tutorial video, it’s just a search away. Our group projects were more focused on how different schools handle their international affairs in different regions of the world. Surprisingly, there are many different ways in which universities choose to handle this but I personally like how NTU organizes theirs. By have one office of international affairs with three departments they are able to keep everything within the office, thus eliminating any confusion or unnecessary complications.
Besides the projects I had to work on, I would say that the relationships that I have made with the people in the Office of International Relations at NTU is also really meaningful to me. Everyone in the office is so nice and caring that it is hard not to feel welcomed and appreciated. They are also hard working people who expect nothing but the best from you. I really appreciate the time and energy they put into having us as interns in their office and I saddened to see it come to an end.
Being a Global Fellow has allowed me to have a rich cultural, professional, and personal experience that I will always remember. Having very little prior knowledge about Taiwan and higher education, I was anxious to begin my internship at NTU’s Office of International Affairs and to live in Taipei for eight weeks. During my time interning, all of the projects I have been able to work on have taught me the ins and outs of international higher education, the culture of Taipei, as well as transferrable skills that go beyond higher education. I could not be more thankful for the people at NTU for being so friendly; from my supervisors to the student workers in the office, the interactions with the people here have made this a once in a lifetime experience.
This program has been much more than an internship. Even while abroad, I gained a deeper understanding of my culture as well as insight into USC’s initiatives in an international higher education context. The overall challenge of living and working in another country gave purpose to what it means to be a global citizen and a representative of my country and my university. This program may only last eight weeks, but it has cultivated a curiosity to explore new cultures and experiences that will last a lifetime.
Working at Tái Dà has been one of the most memorable and constructive professional experiences I’ve had so far. It has been a privilege to witness and partake in the work that the Office of International Affairs does in broadening NTU’s scope of relevance and deepening its influence in the global academic arena. Coming from a university that does not have a singular, consolidated OIA, I have gained an appreciation for the Office’s multifaceted vision, and for the staff that executes that vision so masterfully.
Though it does sound a bit cliché, the people who work in OIA are truly what has made the department such a great place for me to learn, and their efforts are ultimately what has allowed the office to reach such unparalleled heights of success and achievement. Throughout my time interning for the Center for International Education, I was always supported in each task I was assigned, yet also felt entrusted with a significant amount of autonomy and individual responsibility. Between the numerous long-term research projects we presented, to the communications and linguistics assistance we provided on a daily basis, I finished my internship at NTU not only with a feeling of accomplishment, but also with a greater substantive understanding of the importance of globalizing education and what that complex endeavor entails.
I am incredibly and forever grateful to National Taiwan University for hosting me and a few of my fellow Trojans this summer, and could not have asked for more poised, genuine, and hardworking colleagues than those at OIA. The demonstrated dedication they have to their work, and the joy they have while doing it, have inspired me and will stay with me for a very long time.